JACKSON, WYO – Sliding around on snow is a great activity for anyone under 18 years of age, for the rest of us, it may be worse than any drug imaginable. And here’s why or at least some of the reasons why I need to grow up:
I got introduced to snowboarding around the age of 14, thanks to my mom paying the way on our annual ski trips. To be honest, we really couldn’t afford to be going to a destination ski resort, however credit cards did wonders and getting out of Los Angeles for a few days was surely refreshing to my mom’s soul.
Unbeknownst to her and everyone around us my mom and other liked minded parents stated planting seeds that would germinate for over 2 decades, at least in my case.
So when I was old enough to move away, I knew I wanted to live in a ski town. Sound familiar? I clearly remember seeing all the happy young adults working what looked like fun jobs, they had unique accents and I literally couldn’t wait to live in a ski town and be just like them.
And then I become a local and realized everyone was working 2 jobs just to get by. I moved to the mountains to snowboard, get drunk and dive head first into the Apre ski scene that looks so sexy to visitors. I quickly realized that moving to ski town meant spending more time working than playing.
I was been fooled.
Well, it didn’t take long for the alcoholic in me to become a pro, move to a ski town and you will learn how to hold your liquor. Shit, we drink at altitude, and most of us are athletes so operating hung over or drunk for that matter became the norm. As did spending too much money on bar tabs and shitty apre ski food. It’s what we were taught to do from a young age, sorry mom.
But this article isn’t about being a ski town drunk, I already covered that a few months back. What this article is supposed to do is be an eye opener for anyone reading this. Maybe a wake-up call perhaps. I surely just had my ah-ha moment.
I may never snowboard again, and I am ok with that. Are you?
Breaking through the surface
So what happened? Well, when you stress about money, bills and did I mention money it starts to become hard to say yeah let’s go snowboard. That will make everything better right?
No, it won’t!
If anything the time you spend snowboarding could be spent working. Starting a business, volunteering or doing just about anything that’s not as self-centered as snowboarding.
The only reason I got introduced to this sport and probably you too is that my mom worked her ass off. She would leave the house every day around 6:30 am and return 12 hours later. This went on for decades and decades and decades. I wish I had 1/10th her work ethic.
And it wasn’t just an M-F gig, weekends especially Sundays were work from home days. A vacation you say, my mom was ALWAYS still working. It became a joke can you really not pay attention to work for a couple days? Sure if you never want to take these trips…
If you’re reading this and you’ve ever had a ski pass it would be safe to say you grew up in a middle-class household. Do you consider yourself middle class these days? When lift tickets start costing $100+ it’s not designed for the working class anymore.
Personally, I made less than $18,000 last year between my full-time job as editor of the Mountain Weekly News and 30 hours a week unclogging toilets / doing maintenance throughout the summer. It’s not poverty levels, but its damn close.
Odds are there’s not a single person in the country that makes under 20k a year that’s thinking hey let’s go snowboarding. That is unless you live in a ski town and have drunk the punch.
Has the flower bloomed?
So after 15 years of living in a ski town what do I have. Aside from some major injuries and surgeries, (which all came from snowboarding) I did manage to start my own business, I realized that being an addicted to alcohol was more of a social thing than a physical addiction for me. Most importantly though, I have come to the conclusion that I can’t afford to live in any town in this country that has a ski resort, real estate has been the name of the game as of late and I have always been priced out. Even as a renter it’s been a struggle.
30 years ago you could have pulled it off, 20 years ago it was doable, 10 years ago it was tough, these days I really wonder how anyone can be a ski bum aside from getting financial assistance from a parent. Ski bumming seems to be dead.
At 35 years old I finally realized how much of my life has been taken away due to snowboarding. Due to my addiction to powder days, face shots and serenity.
To my friends in the industry, are you surprised by this? Last time I checked my landlord didn’t accept high fives and snowboards in trade for rent, I doubt yours do either…
Will I ever strap into a snowboard again? TBD but it surely won’t happen until I have some money in the bank.
At 35 years old I’m finally looking forward to growing up and getting my life together. Or maybe it’s just my ski bum depression rearing its ugly head.
To be continued…